The latest in WikiLeaks’ series of #Vault7 leaks was released Friday detailing malware that provides remote beacon and loader capabilities on target computers using several Microsoft Windows operating systems.
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‘Athena’ is the latest codename for the release which consists of five documents.
In the user guide, the operating systems which can be targeted are: Windows XP Pro SP3 32-bit, Windows 7 32-bit/64-bit, Windows 8.1 32-bit/64-bit, Windows 2008 Enterprise Server, Windows 2012 Server, and Windows 10.
Once installed on a target computer, Athena will use a listening post to receive beacons from the operator, allowing it to signal and trigger additional malware payloads undetected on the target computer.
Athena “hijacks” the DNSCACHE, a temporary database maintained by the operating system to record internet traffic on the computer, to hide its presence, according to a document contained in the leak.
The command module for Athena will only load during a signal, before being destroyed when completed.
The CIA cooperated with the private cybersecurity firm Siege Technologies to develop the Athena malware.
“I feel more comfortable working on electronic warfare… It’s a little different than bombs and nuclear weapons — that’s a morally complex field to be in. Now instead of bombing things and having collateral damage, you can really reduce civilian casualties, which is a win for everybody,” Jason Syversen, the founder of Siege Technologies, wrote in an email.
The release is the latest in WikiLeaks series of leaks, allegedly from the CIA, known as #Vault7. Previous releases showed hacking techniques used to weaponize mobile phones, conduct surveillance via Smart TVs and load and execute malware on a target machine.
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